Thirty year blueprint will see Aberdeen Airport take off

Posted: 2 April 2012 | Aberdeen Airport | No comments yet

North east gateway launches draft Master Plan to meet future growth in air traffic…

Aberdeen Airport

An ambitious multi-million pound blueprint to develop Aberdeen Airport over the next 30 years has been unveiled today for consultation.

The UK’s fastest growing airport in 2011 has launched its draft Master Plan, which sets out how it will develop to meet future demand, and compete more effectively against UK and European rivals.

Highlights include a £100 million capital investment plan over the next two decades, major refurbishment of the terminal building, space for further runway expansion as demand requires it, and a 40% rise in passenger numbers by 2040.

Updated forecasts produced by BAA show a growing demand for air services to and from Aberdeen over the long term, with passenger numbers expected to reach four million by 2020 and more than five million by 2040. Around 1,100 jobs could be created as a result of future development.

Derek Provan, managing director of Aberdeen Airport, said: “The aviation industry has changed a great deal since the first Aberdeen Airport Master Plan was published in 2006, a time of unprecedented growth in the aviation industry. It was followed by the worst downturn in aviation history, a worldwide slump in demand and the loss of dozens of UK and European airlines, including flyglobespan and Aberdeen based City Star Airlines.

“Given the extent of the downturn, and the impact on air passenger demand across the world, it is only sensible that we take stock and refresh our long term forecasts to reflect the changed business landscape. This draft Master contains a series of revised forecasts for growth, which we believe are realistic, sustainable and achievable.

“Aberdeen Airport was the fastest growing airport in the UK last year and our forecasts suggest that we will continue to grow over the long term. It is vital therefore that we put in place a development framework that allows Aberdeen Airport to deliver an enhanced customer experience, improve its international connectivity, and compete effectively in a fast changing market.”

A major programme of capital investment is planned over the next 20 years to ensure Aberdeen Airport is able to accommodate forecast demand, including expansion of the main terminal, extra aircraft stands and additional runway extensions to expand Aberdeen’s international reach.

Local residents, businesses and politicians will have a chance to air their views on the future development of the airport during a 12 week public consultation.

Airport MD Derek Provan added: “We have invested heavily at Aberdeen Airport over the past ten years. However, no business can afford to stand still. So, over the next 30 years, we will embark on a continuing programme of investment and innovation, including further enhancements to our terminal building and space to further expand the runway, so that we can – in time, and as demand requires – extend the airport’s international reach. This investment will ensure that Aberdeen Airport is well placed to grow for the future and continues to play its part in driving the region’s economic development.

“However, we recognise that we can only grow with the support and trust of our neighbours. We are determined to grow Aberdeen Airport in a responsible and sustainable manner, and we will be consulting widely on our plans to ensure that all sections of the community have an opportunity to share their views.”

Tom Smith, chairman of ACSEF, said: “Transport and connectivity are key to achieving economic growth and enhancing the quality of life in the region. Expanding the airport in line with its Master Plan will result in net benefits to the North-east but also to the rest of Scotland. It is clear that the airport out-performs as a private business but it is also a vital enabler of overall economic growth. ACSEF’s action plan fully supports the airport’s development plans and will continue to work closely with Aberdeen Airport, the public sector and other bodies involved in major infrastructure to bring them to fruition.”

Bob Collier, Chief Executive for Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “ The proposals in this consultation document clearly illustrate the depth of Aberdeen Airport’s commitment to the North-east of Scotland. The region has already been the beneficiary of a multi-million pounds investment in its infrastructure which has considerably improved the standard of service for passengers travelling to this world as well as opening up opportunities for new routes. These ambitious proposals take the potential for the region to the next level.”

The 2011 draft Master Plan in detail

The draft document sets out long term forecasts for growth, and the airport infrastructure required to handle this growth at 2020 and 2040, including terminal and runway capacity. It also considers the economic role of the airport and highlights the strategic transport improvements needed to support a successful airport.

The context

The 2003 UK Government White Paper, the Future of Air Transport, provides the framework for the future development of UK aviation. It requires airports such as Aberdeen to set out their long term development plans and publish a draft Master Plan for public consultation, and to review these documents every five years. Aberdeen’s first Master Plan was published in 2006 following the largest consultation ever undertaken by the airport, and has been an invaluable document to many of the airport’s stakeholders. This draft Master Plan refreshes the document released in 2006, in line with DfT guidance.

Today’s Airport

Aberdeen Airport handled 3.1 million passengers, over 97,000 passenger flights and around 6,200 tonnes of freight in 2011. The airport has approximately 20 airlines flying to around 40 destinations with a high percentage of business use (56%) supporting the north east economy.


Passenger numbers are forecast to rise from 3.1 million in 2011 to 4 million in 2020 and 5.09 million in 2040.

The number of air transport movements is forecast to grow from 97,600 in 2011 to 109,200 in 2020 and 119,800 in 2040.

Cargo is expected to grow significantly, with tonnage increasing from 6,200 in 2011 to 8,400 in 2020 and 9,200 in 2040.


Over the next 30 years, Aberdeen Airport will embark on a continuing programme of investment and innovation. The current capital plan envisages investment worth almost £100 million between now and 2030 alone. This investment will ensure that Aberdeen Airport is well placed to grow for the future and continues to play its part in driving the region’s economic development.

Development to 2020

Up to 2020, development of the airport will focus on making best use of current facilities and alterations to existing terminal and airfield infrastructure to meet capacity requirements. During this period, airport development will take place within the existing footprint.

The main proposals include:

  • expansion of the airport’s international arrivals area and departure lounge
  • upgrades to the security search area and additional domestic and international baggage reclaim capacity
  • remodelling the airport’s food court and retail facilities, and a new car rental building
  • a helicopter taxiway and runway upgrade, additional aircraft stands and an upgrade of the southern taxiway.

Development to 2040

Beyond 2020, it is more difficult to pinpoint specific developments but it is likely that more substantial alterations to the terminal building and additional aircraft stands will be required. The main runway will be resurfaced in 2024. Land will also be safeguarded to allow for additional runway extensions at both ends of the main runway, assuming forecast growth is achieved and there is a commercial imperative for further expansion. During this period, the draft Master Plan envisages only limited requirement for additional land outwith our existing boundary, and does not forecast a requirement for land beyond that which has already been identified in the 2006 Aberdeen Airport Master Plan.

Social and economic benefits

Aberdeen Airport is already a key driver for the regional and national economy. The airport currently employs around 2,050 directly on airport, and around 3,390 across the city and shire region, and generates some £114 million GVA (gross value added) each year for the regional economy. At a Scottish level, the airport supports some 3,870 jobs and contributes around £126 million every year for the national economy.

Based on current levels of employment and the predicted passenger growth forecasts, an additional 1,110 jobs are expected to be created, generating an additional £42 million GVA for the Scottish economy per annum.

The draft Master Plan suggests that future investment in the airport’s infrastructure is also likely to generate a substantial economic dividend for the region. It follows a recent study which shows that the recently completed £10 million runway extension is expected to generate millions of pounds for the regional economy and provide a significant boost for inbound tourism. The study found that the new runway extension will:

  • Generate an additional 205,000 passengers by 2015
  • Contribute £20.3 million for the city and shire economy by 2015
  • Lead to as many as 30,000 extra visitors to the region every year, spending up to £6.4 million annually

Sustainable development and the environment

The draft Master Plan outlines a series of commitments on the environment. Aberdeen Airport Limited is committed to reducing energy use across the campus and has undertaken research to establish the airport’s carbon footprint. The airport will also investigate the feasibility of using renewable energy technologies to meet its energy requirements. Action to tackle the issue of aircraft noise is also planned and includes developing a workable ground noise mitigation plan for residents to the east of the airfield.

The exact nature and timing of the developments outlined in the Master Plan will always be subject to detailed financial environmental evaluation.

Surface Access (ground transport)

Convenient and reliable access by a range of transport modes is of fundamental importance to the operation and success of any airport. The airport is prone to heavy traffic congestion at peak times and there is a high level of dependence on private cars and taxis for access to and from the airport. Aberdeen Airport will continue to work with Transport Scotland, NESTRANS, local authorities and others to deliver improved access to the airport, including the proposed AWPR project and the A96 link road.

Aberdeen Airport has also committed to provide land, currently within its ownership, to support the proposed development of Dyce railway station to accommodate proposed rail passenger growth and to improve customer service at the station.

The consultation

The draft Master Plan will now be the subject of a comprehensive three month public consultation, during which community groups, public bodies, business organisations and others will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft proposals.

The draft Master Plan can be downloaded at

Copies of the draft Master Plan can also be obtained by writing to Dan Peck, Head of Development, Aberdeen Airport, Dyce, Aberdeen, AB21 7DU or by emailing [email protected]

A series of public drop-in sessions will be held at Aberdeen Airport and in the surrounding communities in the coming weeks, during which airport managers will be available to discuss the plans and answer questions. Further details of the drop-in sessions can be found at Visit

The public consultation closes on 30 June 2012.

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